Mars Orbiter Mission: 5 things to know

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission successfully enters the orbit of the Red Planet; here are the key facts to look at


Mars Orbiter Mission is Isro’s first interplanetary mission to Mars with an unmanned spacecraft designed to orbit the Red Planet in an elliptical orbit. Photo: PTI
Mars Orbiter Mission is Isro’s first interplanetary mission to Mars with an unmanned spacecraft designed to orbit the Red Planet in an elliptical orbit. Photo: PTI

What is the Mars Orbiter Mission?

Mars Orbiter Mission is Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro’s) first interplanetary mission to Mars with an unmanned spacecraft designed to orbit the Red Planet in an elliptical orbit.

Which other countries have successfully sent such orbiters to Mars?

Three space agencies have sent orbiters to Mars successfully. These are the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), European Space Agency, and Russian Federal Space Agency. India will be fourth in the world to send a successful Mars Orbiter, and the first Asian country to do so.

How much did the Mars Orbiter Mission cost?

The Mars Orbiter Mission cost Rs.450 crore ($74 million). Nasa’s Maven orbiter which was successfully inserted into the Martian orbit on Monday cost $671 million.

Why is it significant for India?

This is India’s first interplanetary mission and demonstrates Isro’s technological capability in successfully sending a spacecraft to Mars after anticipating the challenges posed by near Earth and near Mars conditions, and a communication gap of atleast 12 minutes.

How tough is the Mars Orbiter Insertion?

When approaching the Martian orbit, velocity of the Orbiter has to be reduced precisely for it to be captured by the Martian orbit. Around 60% of the Mars Missions have failed at this point. If the speed is not adjusted precisely, then either the Orbiter will crash on Mars or it will fly by it and be lost in space.

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